I realize an open letter to anyone for any reason usually does not reach the intended audience. But an open letter is an attempt to draw attention to something that is so profoundly wrong that attention still needs to be drawn to the topic.
This is an open letter to the teens, AND adults who are affiliated with the Restored Church of God under the leadership of David C Pack in Wadsworth, Ohio. I am writing in response to the following article and associated commands to teens AND adults in RCG to refrain from blogging on the internet or having a personal website, unless strickly for business, as now being forbidden by RCG, according to this article. The intro to the article is as follows. This is from the Ambassador Youth Magazine, as written by Kevin D. Denee on behalf of the leadership of the Restored Church of God.
"Blogs and God's Youth
The “blogosphere” enables people to share daily journals, photographs and audio—instantly. But should teenagers and others in the Church “express themselves” to the world through blogs?"
Obviously, from the intro kids, the answer is going to be “NO, you should not be blogging. " It's going to take some time to get there, with typical warnings about pedophiles and giving up personal information to the web, which is wise, but this is just the intro to the real point. That point is summed up nicely near the end of the article and is the whole point of all that preceeded it, which I will also comment on for your own sakes.
Here is the conclusion of the matter for teens, AND adults, so lets be clear, the article was not written just for teens after all and is a warning to ADULT church members to also avoid blogging and websites that are not approved by “the Church. " “To teens and others, " is code for “everyone had better be listening to me. " Let's go right to the conclusion first. I'll let the author of the article speak for himself. . .
"The Conclusion—and Solution
So what have we learned? Recall that a blog provider stated, with blogs “there are no rules. ” This is obviously not true with God. He does have rules and guidelines, but not everything is spelled out in the Bible. We must take principles and consider the overall big picture.
Should teenagers and others in the Church express themselves to the world through blogs? Because of the obvious dangers; the clear biblical principles that apply; the fact that it gives one a voice; that it is almost always idle words; that teens often do not think before they do; that it is acting out of boredom; and it is filled with appearances of evil—blogging is simply not to be done in the Church. It should be clear that it is unnecessary and in fact dangerous on many levels.
Let me emphasize that no one—including adults—should have a blog or personal website (unless it is for legitimate business purposes).
When this policy, now being instituted, was discussed with Mr. Pack and other Headquarters ministers, there was not a shadow of doubt in anyone’s mind that blogs are something youth should not be doing in any way.
As has been said before, Jesus Christ and His Church have standards. Those who desire fewer standards should go to the splinters or to the world.
When trying to justify something, teenagers will often narrow in to specific areas, and say, “Well this particular thing isn’t wrong!” They will then use this as proof that the larger thing is okay. Do not allow yourself to think this way. Consider all the elements we have discussed.
Blogging has become a socially accepted practice—just as are dating seriously too young, underage drinking and general misbehaving. But just because someone else “jumps off the cliff” does not mean you should do the same.
Some questions naturally arise: “Can I have a photo gallery?” For example, maybe you visited an exotic country and want to share your photos with close friends. This can be done, but certain guidelines apply. Of course, there should never be any inappropriate pictures (again, be careful of the appearance of evil); it should be private and password protected, and only shown to family and closest friends.
Is this article saying that every blog in the world is wrong? No, of course not! Again, there are some professionals and specialists who use blogs to serve a proper purpose. " Kevin D. Denee. Restored Church of God.
Most of you have read the entire article or should. In the run up to the final decree that you are not to have blogs, or read blogs of others, or even have a website, as well as YOUR PARENTS, unless they are in a professional business, you were reminded that you are really out of line to even want a voice to begin with and that you having a personal voice is vanity. Your pastor has a personal voice all the time and subjects you to two and four hour sermons telling you that his voice is more important than your voice. Let's look at the article again.
"But what does this have to do with blogs?
The Internet—and more specifically blogs—has enabled everyone to have a voice on any matter. Now everyone’s thoughts are “published” for all to see. Whether or not it is effective, as soon as something is posted the person has a larger voice. It often makes the blogger feel good or makes him feel as if his opinion counts—when it is mostly mindless blather!. . .
Ask yourself, “Do I have a tendency to want to have a voice?”
. . The level of shallowness and emotional immaturity this represents is astonishing! In the grand scheme of things, why would the world at large care?
People naturally want to make a mark in this world; they want to make a difference, and many believe blogs will allow them to do this. However, most blogs, especially by teenagers, serve as nothing more than public diaries. (Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with a personal diary, as long as it is kept private. ) Although certain professional weblogs can make a positive difference within some elements of society, teen blogging does not. "
So there you have it. You're voice is invalid, unimportant, shallow, makes no difference, one that no one wants to hear anyway and ultimately just blather. Ask your Pastor if he had a voice when he was a teen and would he be willing to extend to you the same rights he did have as he sought out what seemed to be truth for himself as a TEEN. The answer to the question, “Do I have a tendency to want to have a voice?" is not the same as asking you, though it is framed in such a way, as “Do you have a tendency to lie, cheat and steal?" The question is asked in such a way as to make you feel badly for saying “yes" even though yes is the only answer there is for most normal people. When your church or government get your voice, you have lost your freedom and your mind.
You are being told that to have a personal voice, which means personal views, opinions and the ability to observe what is going on around you with a critical eye and thinking, is vanity. The article goes on to say. . .
“There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up” (Prov. 30:12-13).
If you post mundane details of your life, you are in effect saying that your life is important and that people should read about it. Also, whether or not you admit it, having a blog with your name, your picture and your opinions strokes the human ego—it lifts you up. It essentially advertises the self! Many teenagers say, “Listen to me, world, and what I have to say, ” when they should be focused on changing and cleaning up their lives.
If you blog, are you sure you do not partially enjoy it because your carnal nature is inclined toward vanity?"
The author is making it sound like you say you are researching *** but, in fact, he thinks you like it. Please understand, that your church's website, you know, the most stupendous, largest and bestest on the whole planet, according to your Pastor, is a glorified blog of Mr. Pack's name, picture, opinions, ideas, interpretations and views too. No one man embodies truth, no matter what you have been led to believe. If you doubt it, go see how many sermons he allows others to post on the site or how many of the explanations of all the doctrines, beliefs and rules are left for others to write and define. So to blog is to be vain for teens. That is a lie.
You are told that your words are idle, you only blog because you are bored and that you aren't smart enough to avoid the appearance of evil. Continuing. . .
"Young people should spend time doing things that are productive. Our goal in life is to become a more effective person—to get baptized into the Church and build holy, righteous godly character for the rest of one’s life. But what does blogging ultimately achieve? Nothing!
Some claim blogging is therapeutic. If that is the case then here is a classic example of someone “therapeutically” expressing himself: “Im feeling sad again…so many things I can’t tell anyone and so many feelings I need to cope with…don’t even try to ask me why, and start telling me it will help if I let it out. I know it won’t help. Trust me, telling will make me more troubled than I already am. but just ur listening/reading my [expletive] posts is enough to make me feel better. thanks…”
Talking is therapeutic. It helps one clarify one's thoughts when no one else will listen. I did not speak up often enough in WCG because I did not want to let the people down by getting fired. I am sorry I did not speak up more. I also believed what I was being told, which proved to be a lie as well. I deeply regret this lack and fear on my own part.
The reason we don't talk to real people in real time is because we perceive that they are not listening or will give us a very impractical an unhelpful answer to real problems. Phone calls are therapeutic. Letters are therapeutic. Talking face to face is therapeutic, and blogging can also be therapeutic. And yes, you have be wise about who you share with, but that's not the issue here. Most humans aren't as stupid as this article makes them out to be. Finding out that others feel and think as you do and that you are not “nuts" or “weird" or “off base" all the time, is very therapeutic. It is a wiseman in this day and age that has close friends and good counselors. It's the people who will not listen to any voices but the ones in their own heads that you have to be careful about.
Just so you understand, your Church and Pastor now forbid you and your adult parents from blogging on the internet, having a blog of your own or having a personal website unless associated with a business. You need to understand that there are reasons behind these reasons such an obscene rule is being instituted. While blogging, like phone calling or letter writing or smokes signals can have a downside, there is more to this than meets the eye in your particular church. It is a way to control the flow of information, criticism and presenting views that are counter to those accepted by the Restored Church of God and it's leaders. The internet is the bane of those that abuse or seek to control and that includes our own government in this day and age.
Soon you will hear something from the pulpit as ridulous as “We regret to inform the congregation and we do so with deep sadness, but Mr. and Mrs. so and so, and Johnny Teen has been disfellowshipped from the True Church for blogging and maintaining an unapproved website for their own selfish, egotistical and treading on thin ice reasons, against Church policy. We pray that God will cause them to repent of this electronic sin and for thinking that they can have a voice in this Church of God or the world in general or that they could say anything that would be or any remote interest to anyone. " Banning you from blogging is no different from burning your books.
Your church equates blogging with dating too young, underage drinking and pre-, marital sex. They tell you that just because others jump off a cliff, does not mean you should. How's that for good reasoning. If your friends shoot themselves, I am sure they would also advise you not to do the same. Good thing as they give this advice or, sure enough, you would all up and jump like lemmings into the sea. This “just because others. . . " thing has been a tool of parents forever and will be yours too someday! It's what we say when can't think of how to say it well.
The bottom line is that you belong to a church that needs to control your intake of good information as well as what might be thought of as “bad" information. They also don't care what you think and don't want you expressing it to others. They don't want you discussing theology, Bible inerrancy, history, other points of view or truths that are more true than the ones you get fed every week in church. The sure don't want you discussing the points made in a previous sermon, even though that sermon has commands for you to follow that effect your life big time. Frankly, all churches fear the internet because information is scary to those that would have you believe you are getting all you need from just one true source. You are not.
NO ONE on this planet has the right to tell you what you can read, who you can talk to, what topics you can share personally if you choose or how you choose to give or get that information. Our government is also trying like mad to keep the average American from questioning a lot of things that have gone on in the last five years, and before. Your motives for doing so are not as evil as this article makes them out to be and you are not as stupid as this article portrays the average teen these days. Everything you do needs to be done with wisdom, caution and discretion, but you will not learn how to do this if you are forbidden from taking the class.
Religion and government has been trying to control the free flow of information since time began. It's how control, delusion and illusion is maintained. The people who make the rules about such things very often refuse to abide by the same rules for themselves. You will learn this as you grow up.
No article in the history of RCG has ever been written. . . yet, that is so chillling as this one. I urge you to think long and hard about its implications to your learning and growing in the real truths that, believe it or not, are not the exclusive property of the one small church and Pastor you have just happened to find yourself in association with. I also want you to suspect other reasons for this being dictated to the teens, while adults were also thrown into the mix in a mere one line as well. Nothing in any Church, Government or Organization is as one is led to believe on the surface. . . NOTHING.
To blog or not to blog is YOUR choice. To have or not to have a website for any reason, is YOUR choice and the choice of your ADULT parents. No church or man has the right to control your access to the free flow of friends, information, opinions or even bullshit. You'll never develope a BS Meter is you aren't exposed to it. I personally think you are more than you think. Even the proverbs say that it is no great thing to have a totally clean barn, with no cow pies on the floor, as it might indicate you have no animals to oversee on your great farm. Remember, fish can't live in pure water. It destroys their immune systems and is an unreal environment in which to thrive as a fish. Are you not better than a fish. . . oh ye of little faith?
Much knowledge might bring much suffering but no knowledge brings unnecessary fear, guilt, shame and pure misery. Stand up for yourself. Tell your church to mind its own business and not yours.
PS How'd the author know a teen girl in “a splinter group" used to work at Hooters? :)
Amen. . .